Reid avoids prior claims, blasts Romney's 'accounting wizards'
September 21st, 2012
06:20 PM ET
9 years ago

Reid avoids prior claims, blasts Romney's 'accounting wizards'

(CNN) – Sen. Harry Reid said nothing of his earlier claims that Mitt Romney had not paid taxes over a ten-year span in a Friday statement joining Democrats in responding to Romney's release of tax-related documents on Friday.

The Nevada Democrat and Senate majority leader called Romney's accounting "galling" and said the documentation "reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he's seen fit to show the American people – and then only to 'conform' with his public statements."

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Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's campaign also released a statement on Friday saying the GOP candidate took advantage of "complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top."

Over the summer, Reid caused a stir when he claimed a source - who he has not named, but identified as an investor at Romney's former financial firm, Bain Capital - told him the GOP candidate did not pay taxes over a decade, though he did not specify which set of ten years were included in this claim.

In addition to his full 2011 returns, Romney released a letter from the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers saying Romney had owed and paid taxes over the last 20 years. The letter said the average effective rate over that period was 20.2%, and the lowest rate was 13.66%.

Romney has said he was CEO of Bain Capital from 1984 through 1999, when he left to lead the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

Reid referred to Romney's returns as completed by "accounting wizards" and charged in his Friday statement that the question remains, "what else in those returns has Romney manipulated?

"We already know Romney has money in tax havens in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. What we don't know is why he refuses to be straight with the American people about the choices he's made in his financial life. When will the American people see the returns he filed before he was running for president?" he said in the statement. "Governor Romney is showing us what he does when the public is looking. The true test of his character would be to show what he did when everyone was not looking at his taxes."

Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a statement that while Romney's Friday release "continues to mask Romney's true wealth and income from Bain Capital, leaving the American people in the dark about critical details about his finances, it does confirm that he continues to profit from millions of dollars invested overseas.

"These types of investments, the use of tax loopholes, and the resort to foreign blocker corporations enabling him to reduce his U.S. tax obligations, all raise basic and still unanswered question – why does Mitt Romney not just release the full returns, instead of the bare summary he has provided of the last 20 years, so voters can make their own judgments about Mitt Romney's finances?" Cutter continued. "As Mitt Romney's father said, candidates should release several years of returns, because one year could be a fluke. President Obama, Vice President Biden and nearly every other candidate in recent memory has met that test, but Mitt Romney continues to fail it."

Also see:

- Ryan gives House GOP a 'pep talk'

- Defending Romney, McCain cites 2008 campaign trail misspeak

- Romney to ramp up campaign schedule with bus tour

- Pawlenty takes post at Financial Services Roundtable

- Letterman: No hard feelings toward Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Harry Reid • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (399 Responses)
  1. DrRob

    Romney taking advantage of complex tax loopholes based on laws passed by congress of which Reid is a leading member.... Reid asking someone to be straight with the American people is pretty 'rich' in and of itself.

    September 21, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. David Dangwillo

    Now it's a crime to be successful in America. Certainly Harry has made big bucks since going into the Senate. His comments are pathetic and delusional. Good Luck America!! You'll need it fwith losers like Harry incommand.

    September 21, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. Dale Howard

    I am sure Reid is galled, it shows how empty his rhetoric really is. The President continues to throw broad generalizations of wrongdoing or privilege at Mr. Romney who is acting perfectly within the law. It only stands to reason (for a thinking person), that "loopholes" that exist for high-income earners are not used by lower-income earners; but the Demoncrats continue to push the class warfare mantra. If it was such a concern to the President, maybe he could have said so during his time in the Senate. Lets not forget that many, many people in congress take advantage of the tax laws.

    September 21, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. jay

    Harry, before you talk smack-release your own returns. No BS about not being required. Just to show us all how 'honest' you really are. While your at it-ask Der Nancy to do the same.

    September 21, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Jeanne

    Once again Harry Reid shows what a Baffoon and fool he is. AND this guy is head of the Senate, God Save Us !!

    September 21, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    how much has dirty harry stolen? how much has dirtty dirty harry reid been gifted in his 30 plus years in the senate?

    September 21, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. sabercat

    so romney took advantage of loopholes, just like i'm willing to bet obama, reid and other wealthy democrats do as well. it is not illegal, if it was a problem, the current failed president should have closed those loopholes when he controlled the congress. just more noise and excuses.

    September 21, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. John Wayland

    Harry thinks following the law must be wrong.

    September 21, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. Nevada Resident

    Where is Harry Reid's tax return? How did he become a millionaire? If anybody requires investigation or intense scrutiny, its him.

    September 21, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. bluezguise

    What in the world does any of this have to do wiith the mess the economy and jobs market are in?

    At least the guy can do his taxes which is a heck of a lot more than Geithner can claim. Obama has created a worse mess than FDR who dragged the poor of this nation through seven unnecessary years of struggle and poverty. Yes. it's time for change.

    September 21, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Defend Thyself

    Actually I don't care because the IRS would be all over him if he cheated. What interests me more is Reid's tax r eturns. How did he make so much money? How about 10 years of your returns Dirty Harry???

    September 21, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Kano Kroil

    What a vile and disgusting man Mr Reid is. I wonder where his hatred comes from. What could possible make a person so hateful?

    September 21, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. gapcoffee

    So let me get this straight... Romney is cheat for not releasing more forms even though Andrew Malcolm over at Investor's Business Daily points us to the hard numbers: three dozen Obama executive advisers and aides owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes – and federal workers as a whole owe the IRS $3.4 billion in unpaid taxes. . so the man pays a heck of a lot more in charitable donations than Dems put together and gets accused of being a tax cheat again? He paid more taxes than he needed to so he a tax cheat... I get it.... He must be a tax cheat 'cause they say so.... NOT

    September 21, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. bluezguise

    What on earth does any of this have to do with the millions of out of work people. It proves the guy can make money, give to the poor and pay his taxes. That's a heck of a lot more than the federal government can manage. How Reid manages to simper and whisper his way way into puiblic office is stunning. It truly is time for change. This is a great counntry, let's start acting that way and stop beating up on the people who have made it.

    September 21, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. Dan j

    No way around it, Harry Reid told a blatant lie on the senate floor. Not only should he apologize to Romney, he needs to apologize to the American people and should be held accountable for his misconduct.

    September 21, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. MR2

    I have it on good authority that Harry Reid is actually Nancy Pilosi's father!

    September 21, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. gerard

    what a lonely bitter old man Reid is.

    September 21, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Cape Cod Paulie

    Sen. Reid is an absolute disgrace, a pathetic politician and an embarrassment to his state. He is exactly what is wrong with Washington DC. In fact, sadly Sen. Reid has become exactly the type of person he claims to despise.

    September 21, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. Frank

    Okay dingy harry why don't you release all of your returns? Oh, you aren't required to by law. Well neither is Mitt. So if you aren't will to do what you ask of Mitt you are no leader. But I guess we already knew that. Over 1200 days with no budget.

    September 21, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. kevin

    Sure, PriceWaterhouseCoopers are accounting "wizards." Um... more like accounting professionals. Show us your returns Harry. If you want to complain about tax loopholes, FIX THEM! You are a Senator for Gods sake! But no, you wont do that will you. God forbid someone in Congress fix something.
    Shut up, Harry. No one cares what you think anymore.

    September 21, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. Blog

    Harry, I can't pass a budget. You should resign for failing the American people and helping to run up Trillion dollar deficits. Shameful man. I get sick looking at you. Disgrace to all Americans you are. Go away now !

    September 21, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. ikefriday

    As a US Senator who lied about the personal tax records of a US citizen, claiming to have special inside knowledge, Harry Reid should resign.

    September 21, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. WilliamPenn

    Comrade Reid and other Communist Party officials have become obscenely wealthy during their decades and decades in government.

    September 21, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. kellyhaughton

    This article is astounding. No mention of the most revealing part of Romney's returns. Last year he gave 30% of his income to charity! He gave more than twice as much to charity as he paid in taxes. This is the most significant perspective and you don't even mention it.

    September 21, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Vote Loud

    Let's see Reid's tax returns and FULL accounting trail of his dirty land deals!

    Then let's move on to Princess Nancy!

    Corruption is ruining America!

    September 21, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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